Continued from Part I here.
Past Khalsar and the Karakoram wildlife sanctuary, is a stretch of road that is straight as an arrow and appears to point straight at the Nubra valley.
This road is called the camel road“, remarks Tashi, our driver, in his usual mischievous tone. Upon being questioned, he bounces in his driver’s seat, mimicking the road’s tendency to make you feel like you are seated on a Bactrian camel that is native to these parts.
The road itself is surrounded by flat stretches full of sand dunes, the scale and the diversity of the geography never ceasing to surprise you at any moment. Past it, is another pass that leads you straight into the Nubra valley.
On the pass, Tashi pulls over to the side and points at the panoramic view that has unfolded in the valley below. The Shyok’s riverbed lies exposed, it will be fully covered as summer unfolds, turning into a resplendent shade of turquoise blue then. From Nubra, it continues northwards into the Karakoram ranges before uniting with the Indus in Pakistan.
How many places on earth can treat you to views of sand, greenery and snow capped peaks at the same location ? Ladakh is as unique in its scenery as it is magnificent.
Talk about a mountain at your doorsteps – our rooms had a balcony that opened up to this view. This hamlet was situated right at the base of the mountain range.
The view from the Diskit gompa is magnificent. The sheer size of the valley is only apparent from this height. Tashi pointed out Hunder, Sumur and pointed out the apparent location of Panamik as well as the distant ranges of Karakoram from here.
The famous 106 feet tall status at Diskit is an enormous sculpture that matches the scale of the land itself.
Reminds you of the tiger’s nest in Bhutan in some way, the Diskit gompa. On a separate note, it struck me as a pattern, all these monasteries getting built on hills. There is a good reason behind it, the higher these places of worship are, the closer you are to fulfillment in this life and beyond; as well as to the gods themselves.
One last glance at the enormous expanse of the Nubra valley that never fails to leave you wonder-struck.